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Peel Mining, based in Perth, is frustrated with the process it is being forced to go through to find whether it can proceed with its Rise and Shine project based on the Perriam property, close to Cromwell.
Peel managing director Rob Tyson told the Otago Daily Times circumstances associated with the Christchurch earthquakes and the effect that had on their New Zealand geologist had meant not much work had been carried out on the programme of work lodged with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The company last May lodged a request for an extension but apart from an occasional email, Peel Mining had not heard anything back.
Mr Tyson expected the extension request would be turned down and the company forced to resubmit a programme of work.
He also worried the programme of work would be rejected and the company would lose the thousands of dollars already spent on Rise and Shine.
The Christchurch house of the geologist who brought the project to Peel Mining was damaged in the earthquakes, leading to the ill health of the man and a subsequent six-month delay in starting work on the project.
''We wanted to keep going with our New Zealand geologist rather than using our own people from Australia.
"We have poured a lot of money out into government coffers. We could have the ground taken away. It is a painful experience.''
So far, Peel Mining had spent about $50,000 to hold on to the ground, along with paying rates of around $70,000, he said.
MIBE senior communications adviser Britton Broun said Peel Mining had two exploration permits (numbers 53111 and 53088) in Otago that were granted in October 2011 for five years.
Peel Mining had applied to have the start date of the permits amended, in effect extending the period of the permits.
''New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals [part MIBE] are currently assessing this application.
"There is a process that must be followed - including the permit holder showing there is good reason for the delay as per Section 35 (9) of the Crown Minerals Act.''
NZPM was in regular contact with the permit holder's agent regarding their application, Mr Broun said.
Mr Tyson said the company had been left in limbo by the inaction of NZPM and jobs were at stake.
There were drillers in Timaru waiting for the go-ahead and work would be available for Cromwell people.
The company preferred to establish a base locally, where possible, and buy as much as it could through local suppliers - the same model as Peel Mining used in Australia.
He was concerned NZPM ''could not bend'' outside the legislation, despite his company wanting to do the best it could for its geologist and local contractors.
''It's eight months and we haven't heard anything. New South Wales is not considered the best state in Australia in which to work. But by comparison, NSW is a breeze compared to New Zealand. We get a response from NSW authorities in a couple of months.
'' I am wondering, is it worth it? We don't want to keep throwing good money after bad.
"It's hard yakka and we have other things to do which are a lot easier and a lot less costly.''
However, Mr Tyson did admit the prospects were good for finding gold at Rise and Shine and he hoped the company could eventually work its way through the bureaucracy.
There were two parts to the proposed projects. There was hard rock mining in the former Bendigo gold field along with the Rise and Shine prospect.
The company had the support of the landowners, he said.